Huff Post(Healthy Living) article is quite informative for those using coconut oil in food or in skin care.
Coconut oil which is used widely has, at times been categorized as a risky diet. Prof Tom Brenna at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, clarifies that not all coconut oils are created equal. The flakey, fragrant stuff you might find in a superfood smoothie is a very different type of coconut oil than the partially-hydrogenated fat found in junk food in the '80s, which was a highly-processed version of the plant oil, containing trans-fats and other dangerous, cholesterol-promoting compounds. "The older refined-deodorized bleached coconut oil causes rapid and very unhealthy looking rises in cholesterol, for sure, no doubt," Brenna said , and added: “There is no evidence that that is the case for virgin coconut oil, which is available today but was not in the 1970s and '80s when people were using RDB coconut oil.” “ It has properties that are promising, but we need a lot more research before we can say this is the superfood of 2014," says Kristin Kirkpatrick MS, of Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
Natural coconut oil is made of 90 percent saturated fat (butter, a distant second, contains a comparatively puny 64 percent saturated fat), but the kind of saturated fat matters just as much as the amount. About half of virgin coconut oil's saturated fat is lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that turns out to have a number of health-promoting properties, including the ability to improve levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. People can also more easily digest medium-chain triglycerides and convert them to energy, according to The Wall Street Journal, making coconut oil a good choice for athletes. That said, because it's so high in saturated fat, even the purest, most natural coconut oil could be problematic for long term heart health, according to a Harvard nutrition professor.
"Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels. We don't really know how coconut oil affects heart disease," wrote Walter C. Willett, M.D., Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School for Public Health, in a newsletter. "And I don't think coconut oil is as healthful as vegetable oils like olive oil and soybean oil, which are mainly unsaturated fat and therefore both lower LDL and increase HDL."
At HERBALLY RADIANT, we are using coconut oil in several skin care products. As a matter of fact, coconut oil is probably the most-used oil for cosmetic purposes. Long treasured for its protective emollient properties, coconut oil was prized by tropical island dwellers as a cosmetic aid. It was liberally smeared on the body to protect against dryness and combed into hair to ensure healthy, shiny locks.
In our cosmetic products, which have very high organic content, we have found coconut oil acting as a rich emollient, in the absence of which skin and muscles can lose firmness and density. Constant dryness also leads to wrinkles and premature aging signs. With coconut oil, combined with other ingredients like Vitamin E, skin is naturally hydrated, nourished and toned. It helps to intercept the visible signs of aging, improving firmness, elasticity and resilience, making the skin texture soft and smooth.